The artist that WANATeam will present to you is a perfect mix between traditional Ethiopian art and the most beautiful hours of Jazz and Soul. It is thanks to this eclectic style that the Ethiopian-born artist Meklit Hadero has successfully distinguished herself. Author-composer-performer but also experienced intellectual and committed artist, Meklit is one of the artists who want to leave a legacy in today’s society.
From Ethiopia to the United States, from political science to music
Ethiopian-born Meklit Hadero grew up in the United States with his parents. Promising to have a university future, she studied brilliant political science at the prestigious University of Yale, and then chose song creation and performance.
After this first shift towards American-Ethiopian music, the artist decided to invest in his field by founding the Arba Minch Collective, a group of artists from the Ethiopian diaspora to send a clear message: all people from the diaspora can believe in their dreams and succeed.
Meklit has worked with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters to create an artist grant program. She is a panelist and grant evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts. She finally puts her talent to work for migrant aid organizations.
As she explains, her past as a political science student is combined with her songs: “In my songs and my artistic approach, there is something of my university past in political science. I take the words very seriously.”
2014, the year of the musical rebirth
In 2014, a meeting will change his musical vision: “The godfather of ethio-jazz, Mulatu Astatke, came to see me after my show in Addis Ababa. He took me aside and told me this: “Don’t play ethio-jazz like we already did. You have to innovate and find your own contribution to this music. Find that place!” Advices that will pay off and it starts a long work that has begun for the artist.
“I spent six months in the studio writing new songs, recording the demos. Rhythm was the starting point for my songs. Alongside these rhythm choices, I had set up a bank of melodies imagined daily by washing dishes or driving my car or even walking in the street… I recorded them all on my phone, I collected a hundred of them and then interwoven them into the rhythms and glued texts to them… These songs were created one after another, and several were tested before the audience.”
A long research work that will give him this hybrid style, neither entirely Ethiopian, nor entirely American, nor entirely European; like Meklit: “It’s not totally Ethiopian, not totally African-American, it’s both Western and African. It belongs to me.”
We can define Meklit as a world citizen because of her past, her influences, her style, her references but especially because of her music which can take us all around the world.